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Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) is not a syndrome but a generalized term used to describe when patients have not had successful results from spine surgery. Specifically, FBSS refers to when surgery does not alleviate the problem or creates even more significant problems, causing patients to experience continuous pain after surgery.

Symptoms of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Since FBSS is not one specific spine condition, its symptoms can vary greatly. However, having persistent pain following spine surgery is the primary sign of FBSS. Other symptoms include:

  • Numbness in the back, arms or legs
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, arms or legs
  • Weakness

Diagnosing Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

The symptoms and medical history of each patient are necessary for diagnosing FBSS. Diagnosis may also include neurological tests such as an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV). Because FBSS is a general term, the patient’s medical history is key in diagnosis.

Some patients may need imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI to help pinpoint the cause of pain and determine if other spine problems are present. A general physical examination may also help diagnose FBSS.

Treatment for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

Patients who have experienced FBSS are often treated through therapy to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility. Occasionally, a second spinal surgery may be necessary.

The multidisciplinary team at Comprehensive Medical Care will work together to develop a personalized care plan to address FBSS.

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